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Monday, November 28, 2005

News bytes

- Riverbend explains the brain-drain in Iraq, due to assassinations, random violence and kidnappings:

"Whoever is behind the assassinations, Iraq is quickly losing its educated people. More and more doctors and professors are moving to leave the country.

"The problem with this situation is not just major brain drain - it's the fact that this diminishing educated class is also Iraq's secular class."

- Forbes magazine features yet more disturbing allegations about US activities in Europe:

"The US military ran a Guantanamo Bay-type detention centre in Kosovo, a top Council of Europe official said.

"The Council of Europe's Human rights commissioner Alvaro Gil-Robles said he had been 'shocked' by conditions at the barbed wire-rimmed centre inside a US military base, which he witnessed in 2002."

- John Pilger explains how the mainstream media has become little more than a mouthpiece for the corporate agenda.

- Palestinian public opinion is shifting and years of occupation are causing unsurprising results. Israel and her allies should be concerned.

- Labor leader Kim Beazley thinks that personal abuse maketh a leader.

- Afghanistan is a supposed success in the "war on terror." Mainstream media propaganda pushes this misconception. So what of this news, published in Asia Times Online?

"Reports emerged in the Pakistani media at the weekend that the US had contacted the Taliban leadership with the aim of establishing a truce in Afghanistan."

- How does a Chinese blogger answer questions from a Western journalist about issues of censorship?


Blogger Wombat said...

The articel about Afghanistan is interesting, seeing as Afghanistan is held up as a role model of US interventionism.

The Americans say they cannot leave Iraq because of people like Zarqawi, yet they seemto think that having Bin Laden and Mullah Omar still free in Afghanistan is somehow a sign of progress.

Monday, November 28, 2005 12:31:00 pm  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

One more item you forgot:

- It seems a certain someone's 15 minutes of fame are up.

Monday, November 28, 2005 2:16:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

At a time when support for the war is lower than ever, the best you can do is slag Sheehan? Again?
Jeez, good to see you're really in touch with current thinking on the war.
It's a failure, by the way.

Monday, November 28, 2005 2:18:00 pm  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

Only if you read the corporate media, mate. Reports from in the field paint a much different picture, and anyone who has correspondents in Iraq will tell you that they hear the same question over and over again: How does the media get it so wrong? Why is nothing good ever reported.

I link to Mother Ghoul simply because a few weeks ago you seemed to believe she was going to lead a new American Revolution...seems she's too creepy even for the loony left.

Monday, November 28, 2005 2:44:00 pm  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

p.s. From the Washington Post:

Seventy percent of people surveyed said that criticism of the war by Democratic senators hurts troop morale -- with 44 percent saying morale is hurt "a lot," according to a poll taken by RT Strategies. Even self-identified Democrats agree: 55 percent believe criticism hurts morale, while 21 percent say it helps morale.

A poll found support for Vice President Cheney's view that criticism of the war hurts troop morale. The results surely will rankle many Democrats, who argue that it is patriotic and supportive of the troops to call attention to what they believe are deep flaws in President Bush's Iraq strategy. But the survey itself cannot be dismissed as a partisan attack. The RTs in RT Strategies are Thomas Riehle, a Democrat, and Lance Tarrance, a veteran GOP pollster.

Their poll also indicates many Americans are skeptical of Democratic complaints about the war. Just three of 10 adults accept that Democrats are leveling criticism because they believe this will help U.S. efforts in Iraq. A majority believes the motive is really to "gain a partisan political advantage."

Monday, November 28, 2005 2:47:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

Coroprate media yes. And who does the corportae media serve?

Gte with the program Shab. You keep referring to your buddies inthe field and you keep getting it 100% wring. After the whole WP episode, I thought you woudl have learned your lesson,

Yes, the same crap of the ilk from the WAshington Post leads people to believe that the way to honor the dead US servicemen is to send more to die in their memory. Dick Cheny's approival rating is below 30 for heaven sake.

You're on the losing side Shab. Time to bail or start swimming.

Monday, November 28, 2005 2:56:00 pm  
Blogger David Heidelberg said...

Did you actually read that article before posting it, Shab?

It has everything to do with domestic American politics, and absolutely nothing to do with Iraq.

Monday, November 28, 2005 2:59:00 pm  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

No, but it's of a piece -- namely that the public feels that pollies and the media are talking down the war, in contrast to what they are hearing from their friends and relatives in the field. Anty bemoans the too-close nature of the press and government; there's also a real disconnect between journalists and the military classes, and the families they come from.

Monday, November 28, 2005 3:16:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

Well Shab,

There are reports that convey another message. That military families are becomming increasingly angry at the idea that their kids are dying for nothing.

Monday, November 28, 2005 3:26:00 pm  
Blogger smiths said...

talking down the war

i'm speechless,
i'd love to formulate an intelligent response to shabadoo's continuing comments but i cant, so i'll settle for,

please go away you stupid fuckwit

incidentally do you and ibrahamov share a computer, i have noticed that even though you both post frequently and share core beliefs you never appear on the same thread together

Monday, November 28, 2005 3:56:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Like with Vietnam, the lefties and so-called anti-war types are 'talking down the war.' The war itself was, and is, noble, it's just those bloody anti-war people who are ruining 'our' chances of victory!
Shame about the ever-increasing torture and kidnapping by our proxies.
So clueless...

Monday, November 28, 2005 4:14:00 pm  
Blogger smiths said...

it got me thinking,
i've got a bit of money in the bank,
i can do something positive for this great war were fighting,
the good news isnt being told apparently,
so i will fund anyone that wants to go to iraq, travel the cities and countyside, talk to the people and tell the good stories that must be abundant out there,
any takers? shabadoo, ibrahamov,
all expensese paid,
you'd be mad to miss it

Monday, November 28, 2005 4:27:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Hell, I'd love to go...really.
But, perhaps now isn't the best time.
We aren't being told even 10% of the horrors in that country...

Monday, November 28, 2005 4:31:00 pm  
Blogger Ros said...

SULAYMANIA, Iraq – It's almost as if someone forgot to tell the Kurdish inhabitants of northern Iraq that there's a war going on.

A boomtown atmosphere seems to prevail across the region. Streets are clogged with major construction projects, including shopping malls, hotels, office complexes and highway interchanges. Commercial activity is brisk, and jobs are so plentiful that Arabs and Iranians, who normally shun the region known as Kurdistan, are migrating here in search of work.
Evidence of the resulting prosperity is the estimated 11,000 Iraqi Arabs who have flocked to Kurdistan looking for work, said Kamaran Ahmad, head of the economics department at the University of Sulaymania

More to what is happening in Iraq than Riverbend grasps? What is bad news for Sunni Iraq is possibly good news for Kurdish Iraq.

There is a big opportunity to invest in all sectors in Kurdistan. Currently, about 254 foreign companies are operating in Kurdistan with involvement in various kinds of projects," he said.

Kurdistan doing sell in Malaysia.

Maybe an opportunity for Smiths, helping Iraq out and getting a good return on the investment.

Monday, November 28, 2005 5:41:00 pm  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

I would seriously love to go to Iraq but it's a pretty expensive proposition - perhaps I could get an embed position as a right-wing troll? :)

Monday, November 28, 2005 6:30:00 pm  
Blogger David Heidelberg said...

Ros, nothing new there. The North has been booming since 1991. I'm pleased that it is the case, but it's little solace considering the diabolical state the rest of the country is in.

Monday, November 28, 2005 7:12:00 pm  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

o/t, DH: what happened to the glamour shot?

Monday, November 28, 2005 7:32:00 pm  
Blogger David Heidelberg said...

o/t, DH: what happened to the glamour shot?

Unfortunately I was labelled as a "dirty jew leftwing activist" by a WA nazi, and he decided to post my picture and personal details on his site. I like my new look better anyway.

Monday, November 28, 2005 7:41:00 pm  
Blogger smiths said...

sunni bad news, kurdish good news?
if the rest of the country disintegrates the little 'paradise' of iraqi kurdistan that the KRG is promoting gets screwed,
it is oil rich especially east of kirkuk, hence the boom, but this helps little if the pipeline to the south is constantly attacked or iraq is effectively partitioned,
then the oil would have to go through turkey or syria which seems tricky
the only other place to go get the oil out is iran, hah
If Kurdistan pushed for independence, it would be attacked by Turkey.

if i were a betting man i would not have any money on the continued 'good times' being spun out of the KRG

and ross lightfoot was obviously bullshitting when he said he needed an armed gaurd and his own guns when he travelled in kurdish iraq last year

Monday, November 28, 2005 7:49:00 pm  
Blogger boredinHK said...

from the piece about the chinese blogger-
"For one thing, the blogger does not go around bashing everyone else and calling people names such as "human waste," "Communist shill," "KMT agent" and so on. Although he could do that, he regards this as a total waste of time. It would make the blog an interesting circus freak show, but it won't interest people for more than a couple of days.

For another thing, the blogger does not go around calling the people to rise up and overthrow the United Nations, United States, the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the trilateral commission, the government of any country, and so on. Although he could, he regards this as a total waste of time. It would not even make the blog an interesting circus freak show, because enough people have done that and nothing has ever happened."

Is this a different perspective or a judgement ?

Monday, November 28, 2005 8:13:00 pm  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

WA Nazis? I hate WA Nazis...

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 7:21:00 am  
Blogger David Heidelberg said...

Western Australia, Shab.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 9:13:00 am  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

Um, it was a reference to the classic Blues Brothers line, "Illinois Nazis? I hate Illinois Nazis!"

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 9:21:00 am  
Blogger David Heidelberg said...

Oh. Clearly my pop culture credentials are pretty poor.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 12:15:00 pm  
Blogger Vasco Pyjama said...

Thanks for the Afghanistan link. Regardless of whether or not the peace initiatives are true, the article still speaks a number of truths.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 12:46:00 pm  
Blogger boredinHK said...

Re the Asia Online article-
The Taliban has been removed from government by the intervention of outsiders.
They don't launch international attacks or support groups which do. The success of the US led forces as such is reasonable if the goal they wanted to achieve is understood.
I don't recall anyone trying to advance the idea the Taliban were being attacked for being the Taliban? They were attacked after they declined to hand over certain persons who were considered responsible for 9/11.
To speculate that now the Taliban and other warlords will all co-operate is a real long shot. These are the same people who destroyed their country for many years while trying to seize control of the country. They may all attack the outsiders but any coalition must be considered to be very shortlived .
The malign influence of the ISI is still evident.
No one disputes that tribal and ethnic alliances are the basis for the various conflicts that have plagued Afghanistan . Where was this not recognised ?
Incidentally AL, do you consider that the Taliban should be included in a government ? On other posts you call for pressure to be brought on Mugabe so why not on these fundamentalists?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 9:32:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

The US had their hands full from the beginning with the Taliban, even if the fight appeared to be one sided. The warlords in Afghanistan are being kept in cheque by huge bribes paid to them and by US who also allow them to make a killing from the explosion in opium production.

Karzai is still a prisoner of Kabul and requires full time US appointed protection.

Then of course, there's the Northern Alliance, which were reportedly defeating the Talinban prior to the US assault.

Putting pressure on the Taliban fundamentalists is next to imopsosible without affecting the rest of the country and those that are truly in power.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 12:45:00 am  
Blogger boredinHK said...

I can't ever recall the northern alliance causing the Taliban much problem after Mullah Omar was in charge.
The limited resistance was confined to a small area and effective control over the country was with the Taliban and its allies. They sometimes appeared about to wipeout their enemies.
I don't doubt the US and Nato have their hands full as you say but the aim was regime change and struggle on from there.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 1:24:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

The outcome of the struggle between the Northen Alliane and the Taliban is one that has been subject to conflicting reports.

Regime change is getting tossed around pretty liberally at the moment and smacks of US hegemony disguised as democracy. The Taliban weren't regime changed because of Bin Laden. After all, they offerred to hand him to the US in exchange for evidence of his complicity in 911. Powell promised to present this evidence but never did.

The PR in the lead up to the assault on Afghanistan involved a sustained effort to remove any distinction between the Taliban and Al Qaeda. The term "enemy combatants" furthered this aim by refusing to recognise the Taliban regime.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 2:13:00 am  
Blogger boredinHK said...

The Taliban won the control of the government. The northern alliance were running away.
I don't quite understand the "regime change is getting tossed around pretty liberally at the moment" ." I haven't seen it much ( by this I'm not disputing the point )and think the process that lead to invasion was probably poorly thought out.
This process with the Taliban providing the evidence about Bin Laden ? How would this play out legally? The biggest problem this conflict has is understanding the status of many participants as you mention . Provide the evidence to the Taliban so they can do what ? Are they the judge is this situation? In terms of state's rights they would be I guess but how would this advance the US's addressing an attack ?
Had the Taliban been recognised by anyone other than Pakistan ? Was it a sovereign state -they could certainly argue this point but the functions of government in this new theocratic state were probably a new dimension for other states to deal with.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 8:19:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

Not the Taliban providing evidnce, but requestig evidence of Bin Laden's complicity in 911. That is not to say they are judge and jury, but seeing as they were in power at the time, was it an unreasonable to ask for proof of Bin Laden's guilt?

I would certainly not consider the Taliban a credible government, but them again, posession seems to be nine tenths of the law these days. The US has never been the legitimate authority in Iraq, but they are certainyl running the place as though they were.

Thursday, December 01, 2005 12:42:00 am  

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